Ethical Marketing framework: Case Study of Land Rover

Ethical Marketing framework

Ethical Marketing framework

Case Study

An Analysis of Land Rover’s marketing activities using ethical framework

Land rover is a car company that is owned by Jaguar Land rover, which is a multinational car manufacturer.  The company specializes in four wheel drive, and is currently one of the largest car manufacture in the world, operating in more than 100 countries.uit is one of several auto manufactures that are owned by Tata industry. In 2013, Jaguar land rover was crowned the Responsible Business of the Year Award due to its investment in new technologies that reduce emissions.

This helped the company gain recognition worldwide; therefore increasing is sales and profit turn out. This is one of the key distinguishing factors of the company from other manufacturers. Another factor that makes the company stand out is its undertaking in corporate social responsibility, where it has empowered many young people globally through helping them learn engineering and other technical courses.

Despite its many achievements, the company faces many ethical issues especially regarding its usage of leather to manufacture interiors. Leather is a major cause of environment pollution due to the harmful chemicals used driving tanning.

Ethical issues at stake

Ethical standards are critical to the reputation and brand image of any firm that seeks to retain its market base. Contemporary ethical issues revolve around marketing behavior, such as false advertising, stereotyping, subliminal messages, post purchase dissonance, exploitation of workers and environmental pollution. However, practicing ethical standards will not only guide an organization through its daily operations but increase production and corporate reputation (Kelchne, 2015). Ethical issues relate to various problems that will require an organization to choose between many available alternatives. One of the main ethical issues facing Land River is its use of leather for interior designs.

An ethical challenge facing Land rover is that it advocates for protection of the environment, yet its usage of leather does the contrary. The company terms the products used in the manufacturing processes as ecofriendly, but its usage of leather results in harmful chemicals that are bad for the environment. Leather has been regarded by the US Environmental Protection Agency as the greatest form of pollution to waterways and the environment in general. Leather is a hide of dead animals, and it therefore decomposes naturally.

To prevent the decomposition, leather companies use very harmful chemicals which when released to the environment, can pose serious health problems as they are great pollutants. Due to this, the company fails to maintain ethical standards that advocate against usage of harmful chemicals and pollution of the environment.

Harmful chemicals used by Land Rover

Due to the use of leather in interior designs, land rover uses harmful chemicals to naturally decompose the leather, which are great environmental pollutants. However, leather is made from animals hide and is vulnerable to decomposition. To prevent this decomposition, the materials are treated using harmful chemicals like trivalent chromium suphide and other pollutants ranging from sodium sulfhydration and cyanide.

The leather is also subjected to procedures that involve large amounts of pollutants like hair, salt, lime sludge, and protein. The use of leather not only puts the lives of Land Rover consumers at risk but also endangers the surrounding community by polluting the air, water supplies, and the land. As a result, the company fails to achieve the good rating in pollution and toxic category and hence experiences a diminishing public image and lost support from animal rights advocates.

There has been a wide concern over the significant range of chemicals in the interior of vehicles by Land rover and sometimes the chemicals exceed the normal level. The drivers who drive these vehicles are exposed to these harmful chemicals mostly through inhalation. This could cause a range of health problems ranging from cancer, breathing problems and allergies. These harmful chemicals by the leather manufactures include:

Trivalent chromium sulphate

During leather tanning, the manufactures use trivalent chromium sulphate, which contains high levels of chromium. Chromium has been acknowledged as one of the most toxic chemicals used by leather manufactures. T5he interiors of land rover are manufactured using this toxic chemical, which poses serious threats to the wellbeing of all those involved in the company affairs. Usage of chromium has been prohibited in most countries due to its toxicity and the health hazard it causes.  The fact that Land Rover uses leather to make its interior decoration implies that the company does not practice ethical guidelines.


Arsenic is a toxic chemical used during leather tanning. The chemical has been associated with lung cancer for workers who are daily exposed to it. It is a harmful; chemical which when in contact with the skin, causes burning sensations and could have long term effects.

Animal rights

Another ethical issue facing land rover is failure to advocate for animal rights, especially since it uses leather which is a slaughter house by product. Animal Rights Organizations are against companies who manufacture their products using leather as doing so is killing innocent animals. The company does not engage in animal protection and this reflects negatively on it.

Leather comes from animals such as goat, buffalo, ostrich, lamb, and deer, among others. Other places also use kangaroos to manufacture bicycle tyres. These animals are endangered as they are subject to killing and slaughter by leather organizations. Land rover is subject to this ethical challenge since killing of innocent animals is a not ethical. The process of tanning entails using chemicals stabilizes the animal skins so they will not decompose.

Ethical principles

Ethical principles guide organizations to act in a professional manner so as to balance ethical considerations with the relevant professional values and to deal with consumers ethically. Businesses that behave ethically have been seen to have higher consumer loyalty than those who do not.

These businesses are concerned about the environmental issues surrounding them, and deal with day to day basis in the required ethical and professional standards. There are four major principles of ethics guiding organizations and these include the principle of autonomy, the beneficence principle, non-maleficience and the principle of justice.

The first principle is the principle of autonomy which states that organizations have a duty to respect the autonomy of other persons no matter the circumstances. It gives people a duty of not interfering with the decision of others but instead to empower and support those that they are responsible for. There should be honesty in their dealings and keeping promises made. Land Rover Motors, for instance,  has an obligation  to its consumers and all other stakeholders to provide quality designs from products that are safe and that conform to the laws of the environment.

The principle of justice states that everyone has an obligation to provide other people with whatever we owe them, or whatever they deserve accordingly. All people should be treated fairly and equally and no unfair burdens should be imposed on others. Organization wise, all organizations should treat all their stakeholders fairly by providing them with quality products, as they truly deserve. Doing so will foster good relationships with all those involved in the operations of the organization.

Beneficience principle states that we have a duty to bring about good in all our doings. People must take all necessary steps to prevent harm, by any means possible. The automotive industry has an obligation to use non toxic substances in their products, and provide commodities that are totally safe, to prevent any harm to the customers and workers handling them, and pollution of the environment by undertaking proper waste disposal . By using harmful substances in leather tanning, Land Rover goes against this ethical principle.

Principle of nonmaleficience states that people have an obligation to not harm others. If harm can be avoided, we are obligated to prevent or minimize the harm. We should not increase the risk of harm to others and should employ all necessary measures to prevent harm. For instance, organizations that pollute the environment go contrary to this principle. The company should therefore engage in other ecofriendly activities and do away with leather.

             Ethical theories

Egoism theory

Egoism model states that an act is morally right if the person making the decision decides to pursue short goals and long term interests (Crane, 2007). Ethical theory, according to Ardakanini and Sharraf (2014) is one the most significant theories in the study of normative ethics. The theory gives people a right to increase their benefits in any situation.

However, the provisions made by this theory seem to approve Jaguar Land Rover’s decision to replace the plastic interior material with a leather ones despite the negative effects it may have on the environment. The moral significance of any action is described based on the same goal and only applies to a man who can decide between valuable and invaluable goals.

The life of living things is the primary criterion for determining their moral value; living things must make choices which make possibility the achievement of the concept of value. Ethical egoism is founded on the idea that life is the criterion of value for all living things; therefore any action taken by man must be directed at preserving life (Hartenian and Lilly, 2009).

Any action that undermines living things and leads to one’s destruction is unacceptable.  This approach considers plants to be the simplest among all living things; they were created to keep themselves alive automatically and involuntary. This leads to the conclusion that any marketing activity that results to endangering of life, such as using leather interior with harmful chemicals, is unethical according to egoistic approach. Also, materials employed by Jaguar Land Rover have serious implications to living creatures in the air, land, and water.


According to the utilitarian theory of ethics, a state of affairs is the only thing that exhibits value. Utilitarian deny the claim that some actions have an inherent moral dimension, as deontologists believe. If an act has a wrong or right, then it can only be derivative, given by the right or bad states of affairs it produces. The core idea of utilitarian, according to Hinman (2014), is that an act should always be undertaken in a way that it will provide the greatest amount of good in the world.

Morality, which is about producing good consequences, exists to make sure the world is a better place.  People should strive to do whatever will bring the most benefit.  Utilitarianism is one of the consequentialism perspectives which state that people should seek the greatest happiness for the greatest number. The determinant of the value of an action is the amount of joy it brings, the number of people it gives happiness and the time that happiness lasts. This theory suggests that people find the meaning of ethics by considering the consequences of actions they take. Something is right if it brings goodness to the greatest number of individuals (Mil, 1993).

Ethical implications

Land Rover is a big multinational company that is composed of a variety of both internal and external employees, and these are the most affected by the ethical issues facing the company. The company has interactive relationship with all its stakeholders and the ethical challenges could affect these stakeholders negatively. These stakeholders include customers, suppliers, the government, employees, and the general public among others. Stakeholders are all the people directly or indirectly affected by the operations of n organizations, and these stand to be affected by the ethical issues facing the company.

The above woes facing Jaguar Land Rover have critical implications for not only then stakeholders, but for the company’s marketing activities, and can greatly influence how audiences respond to marketing messages. While the use of leather for the interior was justified as a reason to avoid giving consumers plastics, the alternative chosen is not only harmful but also pollutes the environment. This comes to the issue of marketing ethics, what is morally right and wrong, and what is ethical marketing and what is not (Smith and Murphy, 2015). It is important in marketing decorum, but also one of the most controversial concepts in marketing


The major ethical issue facing the company is its usage of leather, and the suppliers of these are perhaps the most affected by these ethical challenges. The chemicals used in turning skin into leather are very harmful and a combination of these results in the pollution of the environment. With these issues, the suppliers stand to lose. This is because these ethical issues could make the company result in recalling designs manufactured from leather and use other materials instead.

If this happens, the suppliers will count huge losses, as they will have lost potential customers. The supply of harmful chemicals poses a big ethical issue for the suppliers of these chemicals. With the company accused of using chemicals that pollute the environment, suppliers are faced with a problem on whether their products are really safe.


The customers are the most affected by the activities of the business. The usage of leather by the company to make interior designs implies that harmful chemicals are used in preventing natural decomposition. This reflects negatively to the consumers because nobody wants to purchase from a company that pollutes the environment.

Customers who advocate fro human rights will not purchase from the company due to the usage of leather, as this encourages the killing of animals. Pollution of the environment by the harmful chemicals used by Land rover will result in the damage of customer’s health, and this will lower the reputation of the company.


The employees who work in leather tanneries are at a risk of being in contact with the harmful chemicals, which could pose a challenge to their health and general well-being. These workers come in direct contact with the harmful chemicals, which could harm their health in the long run. In fact, many employees die of cancer that is possibly caused from exposure to these toxic chemicals. One major ingredient used in preventing decomposition of leather is Arsenic, which has been associated with lung cancer.

Course of action

Today’s business environment is at a constant state of change, and the consumers have the power to affect the future success of any given company. With these changes, organizations should aim at pleasing the consumers since they have the final say on whether to purchase the products offered by the company. The ethical issues facing Land Rover may reelect negatively to the consumers, who are more attracted to organizations that behave ethically.

Land Rover should thereafter implement measures and strategies that will reduce pollution of the environment, and that advocate for animal’s’ rights. More than ever before, consumers are concerned about ethics and will go fro the companies who care for the environment and the rights of animals. Environmental organizations should intervene in the company.

These should advise against or completely restrict the use of certain ingredients to manufacture their products. The competitors of Lush have come up with amazing products without the use of toxic ingredients, and Lush should also follow suit, so as to remain relevant in the highly competitive industry.

The company should go for more favorable means of tanning, such as vegetable tanned leather. This uses elements such as bark from trees and other natural plants, which pose less environmental risks. This will reduce the effects of harmful chemicals while at the same time protecting the environment. Land Rover should adhere to the rules and regulations that address the usage of harmful chemicals by the leather industries.

The company should also use other industry proven techniques such as recycling. Recycling reduces the levels of harmful chemicals in waste water by more than 21 percent. It involves reclaiming the harmful chemicals, such as chromium and this will capture the original chromium level by 25 percent. Advanced technologies should be used to reduce toxic chemical levels so as to reduce pollution and illnesses resulting from their use.

There are other designs for making interiors that do not involve the use of leather. New technologies and innovations have been implemented by other companies to manufacture parts, which are friendly to the environment. The company should invest in the latest technologies for manufacturing that will see it establish new designs that have no leather in them. Doing so will reduce the usage of toxic chemicals used during leather tanning, and will protect the health of all employees.


Over the past twenty years, changes in technology and introduction of new innovations have led to change in preferences, and today, consumers are keener to purchase produces from ethically responsible company. Land Rover as a multinational company should embrace new methods of production, which are ethical and environmental friendly as this will woo consumers to their side.

It is clear that organizations that are keen on environmental conservation of animal rights have more customers than those who do not. The company should therefore implement new strategies to ensure that they are more ethical in future, and this will lead to an increase in sales.


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